After a grueling week of exams, group projects and pop quizzes, nothing serves as a better weekend escape than a trip to Asheville — a unique haven tucked away in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
It welcomes all visitors with its expansive dining options, hip breweries, beautiful hikes and lively downtown shopping.
The first thing to do is to park your car downtown, get out and explore. Most of the shops worth visiting lie along Biltmore Ave and Lexington Ave. Although only a few short blocks, the stores lining the streets take hours to explore. From high-end boutiques to backpacking stores and hole-in-the-wall trinket shops, taking the time to walk in and out of the shops will reap all sorts of different treasures.
One shop in particular, Loft — Lost Objects & Found Treasures — is quintessentially Asheville, as every nook of the store is lined with goofy books, paintings, mugs, lamps or other special trinkets. Its quirky yellow front adorned with colorful pinwheels blowing in the wind sets the eccentric tone for the rest of the shop.
It is especially important to stop in on different coffee shops and restaurants to recharge. The most unique coffee shop in the city is Double D’s Coffee; a bright red double decker bus where customers purchase their goodies on the first floor and bring them to the second level to sit in the vintage upholstered seats of the bus.
Mixed into the unique downtown are seemingly endless options for dining —ranging from high-end restaurants to walk up shops. For average college students, affordable but delicious food options completely exist, particularly cheap taco and noodle places. Some of the best are Bartaco, White Duck Taco and Doc Chey’s Noodle Shop — all options that will fill you up but also leave you wanting more.
For students 21 and older, stopping at the independent breweries unique to the city are a good way to spend a Friday night. Wicked Weed, Asheville Brewing and Hi-Wire are some of the highest ranked, most popular spots. For underage students, seeing live music at Orange Peel, hearing street performers or stopping for ice cream after dinner are also ideal ways to spend a night.
Asheville also has plenty of options outside of the downtown circle, such as hiking, museums and historic mansions. The Blue Ridge Parkway, an almost 500-mile-long National Parkway weaving through various national parks and forests, runs directly through Asheville. A drive along the parkway offers unforgettable views of mountains, rivers and wildlife, while also allowing visitors to park their cars along the road and hike various trails.
Asheville is the perfect weekend escape. Shopping around downtown, eating at some of the best restaurants around, brewery-hopping and hiking make it out to be a truly unique, relaxing and affordable trip.